Why Leadership is still the No. 1 Human Capital Challenge:

Politeness or PoLIEness?

(Part 1)

by Ravi Elangkoh


Image - Polite but lyingResults of a survey by Deloitte state that for 3 consecutive years, leadership has been a major challenge in human capital. Why is this is happening?

I am pretty sure that business consulting companies are aware of these issues and they try to find solutions to address this recurring challenge. I am also sure that business schools of the world are also researching and imparting knowledge in this area.

But why have the results been dismal?

When I shared this phenomenon with potential clients, they expressed interest, asked for proposals and even requested a sales pitch. They all agreed with what I shared and they expressed support for the methodology I proposed. They even assured me that my proposal was aligned to their leaders’ vision and that it was the right way for the company to become successful and beat all their competitors.

Guess what? They never called me back.

But after several weeks – the HR fraternity is very close – I received the following types of feedback:

  1. He is aggressive in his ideals; not suitable for my creative people.
  2. What he says is right, but I may lose my job!
  3. He should get his head checked as he is living in la-la land. Doesn’t he realize that to survive and to be ahead of the competitors, we cannot avoid doing what we’ve been doing?

Were those prospective customers not telling the truth when they expressed agreement and showed enthusiasm in what I had shared with them?

If so, why?

Because these leaders are lying to themselves. They aren’t willing to come face-to-face with the real root cause of their leadership challenge. Worse still, they put up a polite front to let others think that they are open to new perspectives in tackling the challenge.

Perhaps they don’t even realize they are lying in the first place and that’s why they keep doing it.

Is that the norm of leaders nowadays? Is this a symptom of a more serious underlying problem?

And could this problem be related to why leadership is still the no. 1 human capital challenge?

More in the next instalment…